Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa or Indian Carrot pudding is a very popular dessert made from carrots, milk and sugar. Originating in North and Central India, TV and films have given it cult status. Winter time brings fresh and juicy red carrots and is a perfect time for this delectable sweet dish.
Every family has their own twist. The carrot is actually sweet enough naturally, so you can avoid adding too much sugar. A touch of honey or sweetener such as Agave nectar, Splenda etc. will also do the job. It is easy to veganize this by using nut milks or nut pastes to add richness to the dish. My recipe is an old family one that has been passed down for generations. There is no calorie cutting here and limiting portions is the preferred way to go.
Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe
Gajar Ka Halwa is popular Indian dessert made with carrots, milk and nuts. Try this sweet recipe loaded with beta carotene from carrots. Gajar ka Halwa is yum!
- 1.5 to 2 KG (3-4 lb) fresh carrots
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3 cups milk
- 1 tsp cardamom or elaichi
- 150g or about 10 pedhas or Mawa
- 2 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup mixed unsalted nuts like cashews, raisins, almonds
- 1 Tbsp toasted poppy seeds optional
- Wash and peel carrots and grate them. You should easily get about 6 cups tightly packed grated carrots. If you don't want to give your arm a workout, use a food processor to grate.
- Heat the ghee in a wok and add the carrots. Fry till the carrots release some moisture and it evaporates. The carrots will soften a bit and change color.
- Add the milk - enough to cover the carrots well and a bit on top - maybe an inch or so.
- Boil the carrot and milk mixture until it thickens and carrots are cooked.
- Crumble the 'pedhas' or the Mawa. Ricotta cheese is also an option.
- Fry till the mixture thickens and gives out an aromatic toasty smell.
- Add sugar gradually according to taste. If you used Pedhas, they will have sugar in them, so adjust accordingly.
- Add the cardamom powder, grated nutmeg and any chopped nuts like cashews, almonds or raisins.
- The 'Halwa' is done when it thickens. Switch the heat off when it is slightly soupy - it will thicken more later.
- Serve hot or refrigerate and serve chilled. Garnish with toasted poppy seeds.
Enjoy this luscious Gajar Ka Halwa as a dessert with an Indian meal, or just by itself.
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or eat cold from the refrigerator!